Children in S'pore who have Covid-19 might get very sick or die, as has happened in US: MOH

Living with Covid-19.

Belmont Lay | September 10, 2021, 07:21 PM

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The number of children infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Singapore is going up, Kenneth Mak, the director of medical services from the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday, Sep. 10 at a press conference by the national Covid-19 task force.

The Delta variant is the dominant coronavirus strain causing community infections in Singapore now.

The associate professor said children have not been severely ill, and all have either had no symptoms at all or mild ones, when infected.

However, experience from other countries, particularly the United States, have shown that many children who get infected require intensive care treatment and even die.

Mak said Singapore must be prepared for the scenario that children who have Covid-19 could get very sick or die as community cases rise and the population lives with Covid-19.

He said:

We do see more kids infected, but so far we have been fortunate not to see severely ill children. They have either been asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, and we're happy to see this outcome, or we are mindful that in other countries, particularly reported in the U.S., there have been many children admitted into ICUS. And also, deaths among children. So while we see our community cases rise, we do need to prepare for every possibility, and that includes that we will see very sick children with infections, or even have to prepare for that scenario, where we might even see deaths.

To mitigate such drastic effects, Mak said vaccination coverage in Singapore must widen further to cover those vulnerable to the disease.

Some 90,000 seniors have yet to get vaccinated against Covid-19, he added.

Mak also encouraged vaccination for pregnant women and women who are intending to have children very soon.

Vaccination works

He pointed out that the data shows vaccination reduces the likelihood of infected persons transmitting the disease to others.

He said those immunised have cleared the virus faster even though the viral load is similar among vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the early stage of infection.

A vaccinated infected symptomatic person will be infectious the first nine days.

Those unvaccinated and infected are infectious for up to 16 days before their viral load clears.

The National Centre for Infectious Diseases conducted a study on the Bukit Merah View market cluster and found that a vaccinated person is two times less likely to get infected by a confirmed Covid-19 case at home compared to one who is unvaccinated.

Those fully vaccinated lower their risk of needing oxygen support and needing to receive intensive care.

The odds of getting infected with Covid-19 are lower for the vaccinated.

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